Art Of Being Democratic

Guest Post by Hal Manogue

The woods would be silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.

John Audubon, the naturalist and painter, had a special relationship with birds. His collection, Birds of America consists of 435 life size prints. Audubon took the collection to Europe in 1826, and it became an instant hit. John understood the importance of diversity. He sensed his connection to bird consciousness, and spoke for them on the world’s stage. He promoted their worth, beauty, and freedom. He gave them humanistic personality and charm, and the world began to recognize the nature of their unique consciousness. Audubon was a political statesman for the bird world, and he never compromised that role.

We elect fellow humans to speak for us on the national political stage, but invariably our voice is swallowed by the chirps of lobbying hawks and doves. We are taught to elect a select group of featherless orators because we believe they are trained in the art of communication. But the paint in that art has been spoiled by a conforming drudgery that drips through our dualistic system. These suited orators’ debate, and then act like they sing the songs of the people. They color themselves in varying shades of partisanship. Our songs quickly turn into babbling rhetoric when these representatives nest with birds of the same feather in Washington.

As we listen to them speak from that nest, we find ourselves scratching our heads, and wondering why we thought their skillfully crafted interpretation of our song would clearly and truthfully include our intentions. Somewhere in the two-party process, our voice gets lost in a vulturine type political atmosphere.

This type of yes I will, but now I can’t, power system has been operating for centuries in societies around the world. Most of ask how can our voice be heard when it is in the smothered in the bird-do of lobbying voices?

 Lao-Tzu, the Chinese philosopher, gave us a hint over 2,000 years ago:

The sage manages his affairs without ado, and spreads his teaching without talking. He denies nothing to the teeming things. He rears them, but lays no claim to them. He does his work, but sets no store by it. He accomplishes his task, but does not dwell upon it. And yet it is just because he does not dwell on it nobody can ever take it away from him.

We are expanding our awareness of the self that replaces a combatant mentality with a connected mentality. We are realizing that the term the good of the people is an objective oxymoron. We are beginning to understand that the will of the people is really the will of the powerful covered in a candy coated economic wrapper. 

Our elected eagles act like bald and babbling combatants. They appear like saviors that protect the integrity of the system. But, the only thing they end of protecting is their own disconnected thought process.  Audubon’s eagles put connection first. His birds use only what they need. They feed the hungry, and respect the nature of all consciousness.  

The Book Living Behind The Beauty Shop incorporates Lao-Tzu’s and Audubon’s message in its storyline.

Living Behind The Beauty Shop is about a Middle Tennessee boy who understands that greater reality where the psyche is able to communicate with the self that is experiencing other dimensions. The boy, Mase Russell, is living with Down syndrome. He is considered disabled in our normal reality, but he is far more enabled and connected than we are to that stream of consciousness that flows through all of us. He is able to communicate with other aspects of the self while dreaming, and he accepts his dream experiences as real.  He is even able to remember those experiences and express them in his own way. His family begins to sense that his disability is a challenging gift not a sentence of suffering.  

His family is like any other family. They experience the typical dramas that we all create in our waking reality. His grandfather, Warren Russell is a wealthy business man that lives on his family’s 2000 acre farm in Leipers Fork, Tennessee. The farm was a land grant given to his triple great-grandfather after the American Revolution. Warren and his wife Claire considered the farm their rite of passage until they both experienced a near-death experience on a trip to Florida in their Cessna. After the accident Warren decides to donate 1000 acres to a non-profit foundation he formed called Perception Farms. Perception Farms is a self-sufficient community off the grid that gives the homeless a fresh start.

His daughter Cindy realizes that she’s gay after she marries her college sweetheart. She returns home from California and finds an ex-nun, who is now called Margie, at one of Perception Farm’s fundraisers. Margie discovered her true sexuality when she was in the convent. They become partners and decide to have a child using the sperm of their friend Alan Sutton, a well-educated and athletic individual who works in the shoe business. Baby Mase is born with DS and the story follows his life and the experiences of the family as he becomes an accomplished poet and artist.

Years later, Mase finds Mischa Eddington who is another Down syndrome artist, in a local college art class, and they develop a close relationship. Together they watch members of the family experience the pains of getting older. They offer the family another perspective about that aging process. The family realizes that Mase and Mischa chose to be born with Down syndrome in order to help others see that there are no boundaries or limits in physical life unless we put them there through our beliefs and perceptions. They show us that other realities are just as real as our waking reality.

 When we consider that consciousness does not have a beginning or an end in the non-physical world we can better understand that the people we call disabled or homeless are actually teachers who choose to experience life in extraordinary ways. They teach us that putting limits, judgments, and sterilized beliefs in action is the art of separating one aspect of the self from other elements of the psyche.

When that happens, we find ourselves living in the beauty shop of life, which is filled with exterior self-serving nothingness.




 Hal Manogue is an author of a recently published book Living Behind The Beauty Shop. Down syndrome is one of the main issues in his novel. He may be found at and

Born in Philadelphia, Howard (Hal) (Howie) Thomas Manogue spent the first twenty-one years of his life conforming to logical beliefs and rituals. He spent the next twenty-six years of his life rebelling against those beliefs and rituals in one way or another. For the last twelve years he has devoted his life to dissecting beliefs and that journey has taken him through the history of religious thought and the intricacies of philosophy.

Retiring from the shoe industry after 35 years of “sole” searching, Hal discovered his real soul when he started writing poetry in 1996. His first book, Short Sleeves A Book For Friends, was self-published in 2003. His second book, Short Sleeves A Book For Friends 2006 Collection, was released in May 2006. His third book, Short Sleeves A Book For Friends 2007 Collection, was released in January 2007. Short Sleeves Spirit Songs was published in July 2008. Spirit Songs Echoes of Silence will be released in 2011. Essays from the book, Short Slee Insights: Live An Ordinary Life In A Non-Ordinary Way (published in May 2008) have been republished in other books and newsletters around the globe. All these books are available on his Web site:

Hal’s poems have been published by Mystic Pop Magazine, Children of the New Earth Magazine, New Age Tribune, Seasons of the Soul Newsletters, The Ascension Network, Lightship News, and Writers in the Sky E-zine. On his blog, he has published over a thousand essays on consciousness. More of his essays can be found on,,,, and

He works as a free-lance writer and is published all over the world. Hal currently lives in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife, Joanie.



Posted on February 15, 2012, in History, Nature, Personal Growth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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